Just when you thought it wasn’t possible to rave any more about the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, here is more antioxidant-building, waist-slimming, stress-reducing goodness from Colorado’s recently opened and already-famed facility.
The first article in this series introduced the center and explained that the facility was set to welcome the public on April 16. Not surprisingly, it opened with a bang and already boasts more than a thousand members. Once you learn more about the ingenious intricacies and thought-out conveniences of the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness, you’ll understand why people are traveling from afar and pawning their most-coveted snowshoes to get a spot at this state-of-the-art facility.
Upon entering, visitors are met with bright colors and ample light from tall windows, which aligns with the facility’s goal of becoming Gold LEED-certified, the highest level of energy efficiency certification. The facility’s unique design features are practical and aesthetically pleasing. A huge screen display promotes health and wellness by showcasing cooking classes, featuring discussions with the center’s executive director and sharing the facility’s latest news. When you’re not mesmerized by the flashing screen, check out the hydroponic herb garden, which is so stunning you may think it is decorative, but in reality, the fresh herbs are used in the onsite kitchens.
The center is home to three kitchens, each serving a distinct purpose. The demo kitchen is open to the public, so anyone interested in healthy cuisine can pop in and watch a cooking class from the on-staff chef or witness one of the Denver-metro area’s prized chefs preparing the healthiest recipe from their local restaurant. The center offers a number of “recipe rehab” presentations, where chefs prepare decadent dishes in a healthier, yet still delicious, way.
Bistro Elaia serves drool-worthy healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack options. You can place your order at the kiosk, which will then print your food’s nutritional content. Enticing you with egg-white creations, double-fiber bread, chef-inspired salads and fresh smoothies, the bistro strikes a balance between health-nut menu and scrumptious flavors. The chefs are quite creative at stealthily hiding nutrient-rich ingredients in tasty combinations (spinach in smoothies, black beans in omelets). If you’re watching calories, you’re in luck because each menu item features its corresponding calorie count. There are no surprises – except the shock at how amazing good-for-you food can taste.
The metabolic kitchen is for research purposes, and to most people, it looks more like a laboratory. Nutritionists can prepare cuisine for any kind of special diet, from low-salt to high fiber, and determine the meal’s exact nutritional make-up. How we metabolize energy is critical, so scientists can study how different foods affect different people.
Now that you’ve been fed, it’s time to start exercising. The primary workout area is expansive, modern and bright, with sunshine streaming in and snow-capped mountaintops beckoning from beyond the floor-to-ceiling windows. The facility’s equipment partner, TechnoGym, has an impressive smart-key kiosk system. You plug your USB-style key into the piece of equipment you are using, and they key tracks your seat height, weight used, number of repetitions and range of motion. Training staff can analyze reports and then create and monitor a program for your specific needs. After working out somewhere other than the gym, say after a long trail run or cross-country ski excursion, simply log in from home and input your data.
The equipment in the gym works to keep you engaged and entertained because you will likely exercise longer if you are not bored and focused on each step you take. While on the cardio machines, you can watch television, surf the Internet, check your email and even play games against others in the gym.
Group exercise encourages hard work, camaraderie and new skill development. Get your heart pumping in group cycling, Zumba, Barre and internal training classes that are more scientific and really empower you to work out at your maximum ability.
A sports-specific training center offers advanced equipment, including a kinesis system, which provides 360-degree range of motion. This section of the facility focuses on special programs for elite athletes who are accompanied by professional trainers. If you’re not a competitive athlete with access to the sports-training room, you can enjoy running on the indoor track, where 10 laps equal a mile, or you can use the secluded circuit-training area.
In addition to nutrition and fitness amenities, the center has a clinic that provides alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage and bio-feedback, and cosmetic services from aestheticians and dermatologists. The clinic’s lab will do blood draws and muscle biopsies as well. Scientists believe that if you control your mind first, your body will follow.
The facility’s innovative Green Roof, donated by the Nu Sigma Nu medical fraternity, offers aromatic plants, fresh produce, cool shade and spectacular mountain views. Your mind and body can leave the indoor facility and come up on the roof to rejuvenate and relax. You can even participate in instructor-led sunrise yoga or meditation.
Aquatic facilities entice you with an exquisite warm-water exercise pool, great for water walking or group exercise and a deep-water jogging pool, where exercisers can use aqua-jogger belts. Equated to being in the womb, Watsu is a warm-water massage-therapy service that supports your head and back while you do a series of range-of-motion exercises. The pool area has high cleanliness standards and is even safe for asthma patients because it uses ultraviolet filtration, which means fewer chemicals.
Wind down or gear up in the locker room, which is akin to a lavish spa. Enjoy a relaxing lounge, high-tech lockers, individual showers, a steam room, a sauna and all of the shower amenities you could desire, including lotions, shampoos and deodorants.
A truly comprehensive mind-body fitness experience, the Colorado Center for Health and Wellness is cutting-edge and determined to affect the quality of life and health in Colorado, the nation and the world. If the luxury amenities, innovative technology and industry-leading minds at this facility don’t inspire you to get moving and start improving, well, you may need a whey protein booster shot from the center’s healthy bistro.